Learn About Ailments | Osteoporosis


Osteoporosis is a condition affecting bone mass. Bones become overly porous like a sponge making them brittle and fragile and Osteoporosis sufferers have an increased risk of fractures. It is common in post-menopausal women and the elderly.

In This Article
Watch the osteoporosis video Causes of osteoporosis
Symptoms of osteoporosis Diagnosis of osteoporosis
Related terms


Did you know?
  • 1 in 3 women are affected by osteoporosis
  • Osteoporosis affects 1 in 12 men
  • 3 million people in the UK have the condition
  • Over 200,000 fractures are caused by osteoporosis
  • 40 deaths per year are attributed to osteoporosis

After the age of 35, the bones begin to become weaker and thinner due to more bone cells being lost than replaced. Post-menopausal women are at a greater risk due to a decrease in the hormone oestrogen which helps keep bones healthy. In men, testosterone is essential to bone health but the majority of  males continue to produce the hormone into old age.

Certain diseases affecting the glands that produce hormones can cause osteoporosis. These include hyperthyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, diabetes and pituitary gland disorders.

Other factors which increase osteoporosis risk include:
  • family history
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • smoking
  • Crohn's disease
  • Coeliac disease
  • low BMI (as a result of an eating disorder)
  • lengthy periods of inactivity
  • high-dose corticosteroid drugs (used for arthritis and asthma treatment)
  • blood clot prevention medications
  • low vitamin D

Due to osteoporosis taking many years to develop, symptoms do not become apparent until a minor fall or impact results in a bone fracture. Common fractures include wrist, hip and vertebrae and it is not unusual for a rib to break when sneezing or coughing.

In the elderly, bone fractures do not heal properly leading to arthritis and disability. A visible sign of osteoporosis in the elderly is a stooped posture due to spinal bones becoming fractured and unable to support the body's weight.

People who are a high risk of osteoporosis include:
  • menopausal women
  • women who have undergone hysterectomy surgery before the age of 45
  • the elderly
  • people with eating disorders
If you suspect that osteoporosis may be affecting you then in the first instance you should visit your GP. Your doctor will then refer you for a bone density scan (known as a DEXA scan) to measure the density of your bones.

The DEXA scan is rated as a T score:
  • If your T score is 0-1 then you are within normal range
  • Between -1 and -2.5 is  a bone density between normal and osteoporosis (known as osteopenia)
  • A T score below -2.5 is classed as having osteoporosis

Bone mass
Fragility fractures

Therapies to consider
Alexander Technique Ayurvedic Medicine Bowen Therapy
Chinese Herbal Medicine Chiropractic Detoxification
Herbal Medicine Holistic Massage Naturopathy
Nutrition Osteopathy Personal Training
Physiotherapy Pilates Shiatsu
Sports Massage Weight Management Yoga

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